Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli or Pasta with Beans ~

For those of you looking for a simple, yet delicious meal, I think this dish will fill the menu. It comes from the Cooking Channel's David Rocco, who is Italian and makes it look easy peasy. I'm sure you've realized that if you want to make dishes that taste good, you'll often have to saute a few vegetables, probably onions, carrots, celery and some herbs together, whatever dish you're making. This recipe is no different in that way, but it seems to me that you get a lot of good flavor from this dish with very little effort. I don't know about you, but I was raised eating different kinds of beans--mainly because times were hard and there were 5 ravenous children to feed. This dish of pasta with beans reminds me of the advantages of eating so that both taste and hunger are filled.


Pasta E Fagioli
Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 ounces pancetta (or bacon), diced
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cannellini beans (or large white beans)
  • 4 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (parmesan cheese)
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
In a large pot, heat up the extra-virgin olive oil and saute the garlic, onion, celery, and pancetta (or bacon) for 5 minutes. Add the fresh sage and rosemary, allowing the olive oil to absorb the flavors of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the beans (drained, from the can or from cooking) and cook for a few minutes. With the back of a fork, mash up a quarter of the beans and add 1 cup water. Break the uncooked spaghetti into thirds using your hands and add into pot. Stir for about a minute. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, allowing the water to reduce until it becomes a thick consistency. 

Let rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Add the freshly grated Parmigiano (parmesan) cheese, parsley, and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve warm.

I don't  use all the fresh herbs because they're so strong and pungent, but the dried versions would be fine for me. I know that's backwards, but strong herbs just don't agree with me. But a good bread agrees with me, and that's what I would add to this dish. And try to get some fresh Parmesan cheese because it makes a difference!

I hope you're having a nice weekend with the family. 

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